Moderate-fat diets high in unsaturated fats offer mixed CV effects

  • J Am Heart Assoc

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • A moderate-fat diet high in unsaturated fats offered some modest cardiovascular (CV) benefits in this study , although the authors found no decrease in systolic BP, and "good" cholesterol decreased.
  • The authors evaluated the effects of walnuts as a whole food, fatty acids (FAs) found in walnuts, and other FAs.

Why this matters

  • The authors say that their findings suggest that FAs (from vegetable oils or walnuts) are a healthy replacement for saturated FAs in the diet.

Key results

  • The unsaturated FA diets did not affect central systolic BP.
  • Arterial stiffness was also unaffected. 
  • Walnuts in the diet were linked to a reduction in central diastolic BP vs 1 FA diet (P=.04), but otherwise the various diets did not differ for this outcome. 
  • All of the diets were linked to reductions in all cholesterol measures, including high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
  • There were no differences among the diets for lipid, glucose, or insulin measures.

Study design

  • Randomized, controlled, 3‐period, crossover, feeding trial, 45 people (36 completers).
  • 3 diet groups: walnuts added, walnut FAs added, or oleic acid-replaced FA diet.
  • Funding: California Walnut Commission; NIH.

Limitations

  • Very small study.
  • Primary endpoint not met.